Hacking Local Politics

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Hacking Local Politics: How We Banned Facial Recognition in Minneapolis

Munira Mohamed (@Muniramaidenrue) works as a policy associate for the ACLU of Minnesota, where she assists the legislative department by building relationships with state and local lawmakers, working on the policy agenda, and monitoring key legislation. Her passion is advocacy around poverty and racial equity. In her free time, she loves reading sci-fi novels and figure drawing.

Chris Weiland (@rt4mn) is a freelance nerd and the co-chair of Restore the Fourth Minnesota. He wears his tinfoil hat with pride, and does not like sharing personal information about himself.


The lines between technology and society are becoming blurred to the point of nonexistence. The software we build oftentimes has more impact on the day to day lives of ordinary people than the laws passed by local governments. For reasons both practical and moral, it is becoming increasingly important for those of us with technical expertise to become more involved with the political process.

But if we want to move beyond armchair activism, we need to understand the system we are trying to hack. Drawing on the panelists’ recent experiences with passing an ordinance banning the government’s use of facial recognition in Minneapolis, and their work creating the [Safety Not Surveillance Coalition](https://snsmn.org), this presentation will offer concrete steps on how you can transfer technical expertise into effective political change.